Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières hosts all-nighter charity concert

Queen's chapter of MSF raises money through music

Refreshingly Biblical played at the Alibi on Feb. 27.

The Queen’s chapter of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is losing sleep—literally—for their commitment to their cause.

The event, called Rockters Without Borders, is taking place at the Alibi. It started at 6 p.m. on Thursday night and will continue until 6 p.m. on Friday, with all proceeds going to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a charity that helps provide medical assistance to people in conflict zones and places affected by endemic disease.

Rockters Without Borders features more than 20 musical performances by local Kingston artists and Queen’s
student bands, each of which are eager to rise to the challenge to stay up all night to support a good cause.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to MSF.

The Journal spoke to Febri Kurniawan (ArtSci ’20), one of the event coordinators with Friends of MSF, about the
challenges and the excitement of putting together a 24-hour-long event. Kurniawan explained that while this isn’t the first Rockters Without Borders event, it’s the first to run for this length of time.

“We were looking at venues to hold this event and we came across the Alibi where the owner Bruce [Davis] had this idea of having a 24-hour concert,” Kurniawan said in an interview.

“The biggest challenge would have to be […] finding artists who were willing to play at 3 a.m. or at 5 a.m. because it’s just such an odd time,” Kurniawan said. “But a lot of the Kingston community did reach out to us.”

The 24-hour concert—or, more accurately, an array of 20-plus concerts strung together—is being carried out one act after another, without the aid of lengthy intermissions.

“It’s just pure music live,” Kurniawan told The Journal.

There will be a mixture of musical styles as different as jazz, acapella, electronic, and rock, among others. Kurniawan hopes the event will allow people will experience great music and learn more about what MSF does.

“I find that most people know Doctors Without Borders, but they don’t really know what they’re doing currently,” continued Kurniawan.

“They’re still promoting their campaign, No Tears Left to Cry.”

No Tears Left to Cry is a mission intended to compel the multinational company Johnson & Johnson to lower the cost of bedaquiline, a breakthrough drug in the treatment of tuberculosis. The Journal also spoke to Refreshingly Biblical, a Queen’s student band that played at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. The group is an alternative rock group that got their start playing Radiohead covers, but are now starting to mix together and perform more original work.

Thomas Wright, a third-year mechanical engineering student and one of the group’s guitarists, talked about how they got involved with the event and what it’s like for student bands attempting to gain more traction. Wright said Refreshingly Biblical booked this gig the same way they’ve booked many others: by responding to a post on the popular student Facebook group, Overheard at Queen’s.

“A lot of the time people will post on Overhead saying, ‘Hey, we need a band for this.’ That’s how we wind up
booking a lot of our shows.” Wright said.

He continued, “It’s a great way to make a name for yourself. I always recommend it to anyone who’s talking about
forming a band. It’s a great piece of advice to not be afraid to put yourself out there.”

The Rockters Without Borders concert is an example of a diverse group of people coming together to support a charitable cause.

While hosting a 24-hour concert is a first for Friends of MSF, and is no easy task, the Kingston community has clearly risen to the challenge.

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